Although vaccine distribution has not met expectations domestically, the U.S. program is still far ahead of most countries.
Even As Vaccine Rollout Stumbles, U.S. Ahead of Pack
It’s been one month since the United States first approved a coronavirus vaccine and the task of getting shots into the arms of Americans is showing slow progress.
As of Monday, roughly 9.2 million people had been inoculated with a first dose of vaccine, far behind estimates made by Health Secretary Alex Azar in December that 20 million people would be vaccinated by the end of 2020.
Uneven results. The explanation for why the rollout has been so sluggish is the same that can be used for the U.S. performance over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic: a decentralized response, unevenly led state-by-state. Roughly 1 in 20 residents have been vaccinated in West Virginia, whereas in California fewer than 1 in 50 have received a vaccine.
It’s not for lack of supplies. California, for example, still has more than 2 million vaccine doses left to distribute. In New York, fears of criminal prosecution for giving vaccines to the wrong people seems to have chilled the response, although state officials have recently moved to relax distribution guidelines in response.